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Dexter native making run for town mayor

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Russell Sterling Neeld is challenging incumbent Mitch Daubert for the Dexter mayor position. He is shown with fiancé Marina Torrez at a Dexter football game. (Submitted Photo)

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A write-in candidate has thrown his name into mix for Dexter mayor.

Russell Sterling Neeld, 36, a Dexter native and a United Rentals sales representative and territory manager, said he wants to help his hometown grow from 1,700 residents to 3,000 in the coming years.

“There are a lot of things in Dexter we need to accomplish,” Neeld said. “We need to get Dexter rezoned … so we can grow and build more houses and housing developments for our community. We also need to work on getting some other smaller businesses into Dexter to get more revenue into the town.”

Neeld, making his first run for public office and saying that he inadvertently missed the Jan. 9 filing date for municipal candidates, is challenging incumbent Mitch Daubert, owner of Daubert Oil and Gas.

Daubert was first elected to head the city in 2014 after having served as a Dexter council member for about 12 years. The mayor position has a term of four years.

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Neeld described himself as a 2000 graduate of Dexter High School who earned an associate’s degree as a surgical assistant from Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. He said he is familiar not only with the community but also with its politics. His grandfather, Richard Johnson, was a councilman and served as acting mayor about 10 years ago, he said.

“You listen to the town and they want change,” Neeld said. “Change is a word they always use. My word is improvement. I don’t like the word change, but I love improvement. My goals are to improve Dexter.”

He said he would focus on obtaining more grants for funds to assist the school district and the fire and police departments. He also wants more money to improve Lake Van, from planting more trees to holding more community, recreational and sporting events there.

“Lake Van is a big source of income for us,” he said. “We need to make sure that we capitalize on Lake Van.”

He said he is part of a group in Dexter that thinks it is time for younger people to step up for public service. He also said that, in his one-on-one and door-to-door campaigning, he is emphasizing what he can offer, having nothing against Daubert.

“I love Mitch Daubert,” Neeld said. “I grew up knowing him my whole life in the same town. I have nothing to say about the man. He’s done a good job over the years, but I have more that I can bring to the table than I think he does.”

On the January filing date, Daubert said that his goals during a second-term would include finishing major infrastructure projects begun while he has been in office. Those include building new docks at Lake Van, resurfacing streets and installing new water pipelines.

Early voting for the municipal elections occur through March 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clerk’s Office at the Dexter Town Hall, 115 E. Second St.

Election day is March 6 with voting taking place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Town Hall.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.